WHICH METHOD IS THE BEST FOR LEARNING HEBREW?
Jews from many western nations are now increasingly immigrating to Israel. From South Africa to France, Jewish people are packing their bags and heading for the promised land.
More than almost anything else, one factor will determine the quality of an immigrants stay in Israel: How successfully will he or she learn Hebrew?
There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction felt when communicating in a second language. If you can speak Hebrew well, the attitude of Israelis towards you will go from curiosity to respect. It has been well documented that immigrants who are fluent in Hebrew more than double their chance of finding a job in their field.
Speaking Hebrew, or any second language, is a difficult procedure for a beginner. You have to remember vocabulary, sequences of words, and be able to react under time pressure when someone is addressing you.
But if you first practice indirectly through the process of reading sample conversations, a huge step forward will have been taken. Reading is vital in language learning.
Simply reading twenty minutes of Hebrew a day is very effective. It may seem that no real improvement takes place in the next week or two, but within a few months, the improvement will be very noticeable.
New immigrants to Israel face a question when they arrive in Israel. Which method is the best for learning Hebrew ?
The learning process of Hebrew is broken down into three parts - reading, understanding, and speaking. These are three distinct processes and each one can be improved with practice.
Reading Hebrew can be improved by breaking down words into easy-to-pronounce syllables, which are then joined together to form words and sentences.
Understanding Hebrew can be improved by listening to a passage of Hebrew at four different speeds - very slow, slow, medium and fast. While studying vocabulary, the most common and frequently used words in Hebrew should be learned first.
Speaking Hebrew is the most difficult of the three procedures for a beginner. To speak Hebrew well, you need to remember vocabulary and say sequences of words out loud, while getting the correct accent. Then you must listen to someone else speak, while understanding their accent, and then reply. And all this must be done under time pressure.
You can make a breakthrough in Hebrew studying by reading while simultaneously listening to an audio CD and hearing the correct accent. This process will have a great benefit on understanding and speaking.
So the key to learning Hebrew and speaking well can be described in two words - start reading! A small beginning consistantly worked at can end in a great achievement.
Copyright by Michael Rose © 2009
All rights reserved
* Michael Rose has written the book,
“Hebrew For Beginners” (which includes an audio CD) (www.hebrewbeginner.com)